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McCULLOUGH: Much-needed miner relief

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

What an inspirational story the Chilean miner rescue is.

And boy did I need it.

I’ll be honest, my faith in humanity was a little shaken after last week. First, firefighters who are paid to protect the public let a house burn down in Tennessee over $75. Then, I wrote my column about how awful I thought that was, and more people e-mailed to tell me how letting the Cranick family’s house burn was the right thing to do than e-mailed to say attaboy. (One guy actually said, “Screw the Cranicks!” Can you believe that?)

So you can see how I would be depressed.

Then came this miner rescue story. It’s been absolutely riveting and I can’t get enough.

The rescuers and the rescued have seemingly done everything right without the least bit of scandal or controversy. (Well, except for that one guy whose girlfriend and wife met at the scene. He probably contemplated staying down in the mine.)

But otherwise this story has every kind of human inspiration element imaginable, from families that camped out at Camp Hope to leaders who weren’t afraid to seek out help from the best and brightest all over the world. Then of course, there is the bravery of the 33 trapped men.

The miners stuck it out in conditions I wouldn’t wish on the guy who said “Screw the Cranicks,” held together by shift foreman Luis Urzua, who by all accounts is The Man. I know if I was stuck 2,000 feet down in a literal hellhole, I’d want a man like him in charge.

The strength of their spirit can not be overstated either. A lot of people would’ve given up. These men didn’t. And after watching the rescue, I can see why not.

The rescuers thought of everything, from the changes in temperature and pressure the men would experience in their ascent, to the high-quality sunglasses provided by Oakley (an American company) to protect their eyes from being ravaged by dust and bright sunlight, to not risking flying the men in helicopters during Chile’s fog-heavy nights.

The confidence of the rescuers was supreme. As reported by the Associated Press, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said, ‘‘There is no need to try to start guessing what could go wrong. We have done that job,’’ Golborne said. ‘‘We have hundreds of different contingencies.’’

That’s the kind of leadership you need in a crisis.

And what about Jeff Hart, the real-life version of Bruce Willis’ character in “Armageddon”? For 33 days, the American ran the drill that eventually broke through to the trapped miners. Know what he was doing before that? Just drilling wells. In Afghanistan. Makes our lives seem kind of dull, doesn’t it?

Before this, my knowledge of Chile was limited to knowing what continent it was on. Now, I add to that the knowledge that the people have an awesome, inspiring spirit, and they’ve given the world a shot in the arm that it sorely needed.

And to the 33, welcome back.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.